The United States today is a society struggling with its own diversity. There have been and still are many perspectives on how we as a society should come together and interact with others of different races, cultures and ethnic groups.
The Anglo Conformity Perspective views the values, norms and standards of the United States as an extension of English cultures because the English were the dominant group during the colonial era and when the new nation was emerging. (pp. 177) This group rejects diversity and favors homogeneity maintain that everyone should conform to the values, norms and standards determined by the Anglo founders of the country and was modified by the continuing white majority. This requires that immigrants conform to the Anglo way and abandon their ethnic heritages – the customs, ceremonies, clothing and traditions of their former culture. All immigrants even the Europeans were required to adopt the American ways and become similar to everyone else.
In the late 1800’s one the ways of Americanizing everyone was the implementation of BIA boarding schools that promoted Anglo conformity to the Native American children. These children were taken from the reservation, and not allowed to even return home on the weekends. The children were forced to cut their hair in Anglo styles and dress in Anglo style clothing in an effort to have them give up their heritage. Many years passed and finally the absurdity of what they were trying to do was realized that their emphasis on conformity, uniformity and individual achievement were too contrary to the intrinsic Native American values.
Some immigrant groups benefited from the Anglo conformity such as the Northern Europeans. When they conformed to the Anglo ways by the way they dressed, , talked and behave, they became easily accepted because their skin color was white. Their skin color gave them obvious advantages over other immigrants who were of other colors. White advantage did cause frustration among those of color who had conformed to the Anglo ways. This was mainly because they were still denied rewards given to the “white” immigrant groups. Many immigrants with lighter skin could “pass for white”. This allowed them many advantages but they paid a psychological price. Their success over shoed the power of Anglo conformity but it also contradicted the concept of America as a melting pot.
The Melting Pot Perspective is a conceptual belief that when immigrants from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds come to United States they blend into the culture and mixed together with those who have come before, develop into a new distinctly American identity. (pp. 177) This perspective has been especially attractive in intellectual, artistic and political circles with its compelling images of Americans as a blend of cultures living in harmony. This is a great vision and concept but Americans scarcely responded. People of color first questioned the melting pot concept criticizing it as a myth that had nothing to do with the reality of America’s diversity (pp. 168) While the idea of the melting pot was suppose to be the combination of all of the subcultures coming together into a new superior culture, many immigrants viewed it as something very different. Many immigrants viewed this as the process of melting away of the subcultures and that it was Anglo conformity was the reality of the melting pot. The Melting Pot perspective today focuses more on de-emphasizing differences and emphasized the need to disregard diversity and accept immigrants as long as they can speak English and become citizens. The most common expression in the melting pot theory is the argument that people should be color blind and the people should ignore a person’s skin color. People of color often become offended by this expression because it implies a negative perception of one’s race and color. The...